Ms Chocaholic with lots of opinions and an attitude

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

London....Day 1

ok Day 0 -- I get on the flight and not only do the couple seated beside me turn out to be English (not unusual you may say...considering its a flight going to England's capital? hmm well we will come to that later...) but Andrew also happens to be an Arsenal fan!! hes such a hard-core fan that he named his cat Gooner!!Before landing the plane flew over London city, and Andrew pointed out the Emirates Stadium to me!! pretty cool!So the plane landed to perfect clear sky....none of the grey English weather I was fearing. In fact the weather was good to me throughout the day. Thankyou for that :)

From Heathrow got the Tube (underground) to Green Park where Navdeep met me at the station, and took me through the change needed to get to her place in Vauxhall. Spent a few hours lazing about and catching up at home...and in the evening we finally ventured out to Covent Garden for dinner. Went to a nice pizza place there and later joined Navdeep's and Scott's friends for drinks in Old Street...a funky bar called Zigfried. I must say London is a very happening place!
Not a bad first day eh?


London ...Immigration

Before I get to what I did etc...I do have to share with you my first experience of England.......IMMIGRATION!! whoa!! Ive read some expat forum where they complain about immigration queue and delays at the BAngkok Suvarnabhumi airport.....and I really have to ask...HUH?!?! what are you complaining about!! ermmm look at Heathrow..gee!! ok so granted theres a lot more people (perhaps?) but they really have no idea how to manage queues.....theres 2 different rows running in curves stretching over about 7-8 turns of about 6metres or more each? which is all fine...then finally after about 1 hour of slowly moving up the queue I get to the front row..where the crowd control officer makes us divert into about 3 or 4 different waiting spots in front of the I think wow..great finally only 2 more people and I can finally get out of this immigration area!! too happy too soon!! the officer decided the indian/pakistani entering on his student visa has something wrong with his he questions and questions and between dragging officer in neighbouring counter into the same discussion...showing him documents...essentially holding up 3 counters over one client!! all this for more than 20minutes...while more than a thousand other people waiting to be dealt with!
and all this time...I was stuck there at front of the queue while people who were previously behind me had got through cos they were not branched off to this unlucky spot! what I fail to understand is 1. why couldnt the immigration officer send the client to a supervisor level if it was no longer a routine case? why spend over half an hour full time of 1 officer, and part time of 2 other officers over this once case..which by the way was still being questioned even after I finally could get through? and 2. why cant they manage a queue in one single file where it will truly be first come first serve? and 3. even if they decide to adopt this branching off thinking it will speed things up? what happened to the crowd control person to redirect the few of us who got thrown into deadends?

so after slightly over 1.5 hours I managed to get my turn at immigration...was asked a couple of questions and let through....waiting time 1.5hours, questioning time1.5minutes!!

ohhh one positive?? I didnt have to wait for my luggage!! HAHAHA does that mean the baggage handling is very effective??


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Im going to London!!

Didnt quite mention this 1. it first depended on getting my visa to the UK in time....which amazingly...the Brit Embassy in Bangkok issued it to me within a day!! was a big surprise considering the stories Ive heard from others on how long a wait it can be.
so while waiting for that...I thought I better hold off booking the Emirates Cup Arsenal vs Inter Milan ticket until I had my visa the time that was to that game had been sold out!!! WHAT!!!!! but wait hang on...somehow....this wonderful friend Keith ....managed to get the tickets afterall. You're a legend!!

so Im getting pretty excited about this.....I wish my brother could come with me....this is exactly the trip he'd want to have........
Ill just have to try and take lots of photos and get some autographs for him I suppose!!


Friday, July 20, 2007

Manila just isnt for me it seems...

the last trip I was here I manage to ruin my swimmers....and this trip I manage to almost ruin my face! people talk about getting mugged in Manila, terrorist attacks or other such worrying crimes.....but here I the comfort of my nice 5star Hyatt hotel room...and I still manage to get a nasty cut and a huge swelling on my forehead! DOH!
I guess this is icing on the cake of the not-so-lucky last few days Ive had while here? if I can use the term icing for bad luck......well some of it is bad luck.....hitting my head against the solid metal safety deposit box in the hotel closet is certainly so! but other things that happened in the last couple of evenings...hmmm cant say its much to do with luck...unless its that metaphorical term of using luck (lackof) when it comes to any semblance of a romance I may have with men....

PS. speaking of ice....Ive had to put this makeshift icepack on my forehead for the last 40mintues or so..while 1. waiting for the doctor the hotel decided should be called to attend to my swelling, 2. hes now gone away to get a proper icepack since the last 15minutes.
I think I must be recovering as I can now sit back up without feeling like the whole world is compressing in on me...........and the doc said it wont scar....what a relief....


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Manila....3rd time lucky?

well not quite....
started out as a good trip I gotta say....those that know me will know I tend to do things in the last minute, including getting to the airport at the very last possible minute especially if its a morning flight! (need that extra half hour of sleep :) Anyhow..since Mom was in town that night...she was all panicky and pushed me to get there big thanks to her...else I wouldnt have run into Firoz there. must have been roughly 10 years since we last saw each other....he's now reached his dream of becoming a pilot...and guess what...hes getting married this November!! CONGRATS!!

so Im in Manila this time...for a conference on the set up of an ASEAN Human Rights Commission....and for once Im starting to feel there is some concrete step likely to come out soon. About time too! The group RWG have been working on this issue since 1993.

other than that.....well met up with a friend here....went out to dinner the first evening I got here (Saturday 14th July) and a really nice dinner last night. walked past Max Brenner twice...but didnt quite make my date with him yet. Maybe I will have better luck tonight?

Monday, July 02, 2007


Following on my previous post about the Burma/Myanmar situation.....I can understand the sentiment of frustration... I personally feel it too...years of lobbying and demanding...and most times you end up with not much change after 10 years. Its like moving around in a square (slightly better than circle...cos for limited time you feel like you are moving forward..then things take a turn...another few steps..then another turn...until you complete the sqaure...and well...)

anyhow....on the other meet and talk to or mostly hear about the numerous of people in and outside of Burma/Myanmar who continue to do what they do day after day, year after year.....educating even if its one person at a time...helping the plight of one woman at a time......and htey continue on....... I gotta not only admire that.....but also admit that yes IT DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE smile.gif
an old Senator from the Philippines shared her experience...telling us how way back when...when they were protesting against their own government....things also seemed hopeless at the time....and yes it took a great number of years...but they still rid themselves of the corrupt era.....
so hopeless and useless as things may seem....we still have to continue to support those who are trying to bring about change...cant give up...if we stop...then that would be the end smile.gif

this reminds me of the below words that I first saw use by someone I know in his email messages signature:
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good (wo/)men do nothing.
------Edmund Burke

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Women of Burma Day

Speaking of birthdays....not too long after my birthday ......was the birthday Anniversary of the 'Lady' : Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi (well thats not exactly correct either....since she was obviously born before me..but I think you get the drift..) The day, 19th June, also marked the celebration of Women of Burma in its 10th year.
I went along to the event held at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, where there was a panel discussion and a book launch. Impressive crowd as it was, the panel consisting of activists from Burma/Myanmar, members from the Asean Inter-Parliamentary
Myanmar Caucus
, representative from Thai National Human Rights Commission, and some former Thai Senators, and of course the scores of media, yet one question on most people's minds and worded by a freelance journalist remains..... where will we be next year? chances are we will all come back to celebrate YET ANOTHER birthday for Daw Aung San while she remained under house arrest.
ASEAN has a bigger role to play, but more crucial would be the direction India and China adopt on their relationship with Burma's junta.

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